Odometer readings are considered one of the most essential data points in fleet management. Not only does having accurate odometer values help guarantee that preventative maintenance is kept current (which ensures a safe fleet), it also provides accurate vehicle valuation and lifecycle stage data for right-sizing. Having accurate and current odometer values helps you determine the value of the vehicle and be able to make decisions about when and if you should dispose of it. Keeping an aging fleet past its optimal financial lifespan can cause a fleet to incur costs ranging from excessive maintenance to increased fuel usage and, ultimately, reduced utilization.
Odometer readings help fleet managers decide when to replace or dispose of vehicles, when to perform maintenance tasks and clean vehicles, and when to rotate vehicles to other areas of the organization. They also help them monitor for fuel fraud, provide accurate billing of vehicle usage, and make a variety of other fleet management decisions.
There are numerous ways to use technology to ensure the reporting of odometer readings are 100% accurate. FleetCommander GPS and telematics solutions can track odometers automatically, virtually eliminating inaccuracies.
In some settings where in-vehicle telematics is not a viable solution, drivers are relied upon to report odometers. Most drivers accurately report odometer readings, however it is crucial that fleets have a system in place to prompt for the mileage data input and to validate for accuracy. With FleetCommander, for example, drivers are prompted to report odometer readings when returning the vehicle to the self-service motor pool kiosk. Some organizations require more information about vehicle use than just the odometer. For example, users of assigned vehicles may need to report beginning and starting odometers each day and indicate the purpose of the use and the destinations visited. FleetCommander can make this easy be providing online, customizable forms to gather data from the users. The information goes directly into FleetCommander and reports allow that data to be easily mined.
Just as important, drivers should be instructed to report any discrepancies in odometer values. Although most drivers report accurate odometers, several opportunities for errors include:
- Entering tenths of miles – results in tens of thousands miles more than the actual reading.
- Reporting kilometers rather than miles – results in a significant increase in the number of miles reported.
- Guessing the odometer reading - the next driver may see this discrepancy. FleetCommander produces mileage threshold warnings if drivers attempt to put in mileage values that exceed configurable thresholds.
If you want to know more ways accurate odometers can make or break many fleet management decisions, download our free e-book “Top 5 Essential Fleet Management Decisions that Depend on Accurate Odometers.”